Connecticut's Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy has led his state to become the first to boycott Indiana over its newly passed Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).
Malloy, who signed an executive order which bans all state-paid travel to Indiana, left no doubt about his stance on the bill, saying it was "disturbing and outright discriminatory," The Huffington Post reported
, adding, "somebody's got to stand up to this kind of bigotry and I'm prepared to do it."
In taking the action, Malloy joins the protest against the bill with businesses such as Angie's List, which has delayed a planned $40 million construction project over the bill, USA Today reported
Art Peck, CEO of Gap Inc., and Levi Strauss Co. CEO Chip Bergh released a joint statement
saying: "These new laws and legislation, that allow people and businesses to deny service to people based on their sexual orientation, turn back the clock on equality and foster a culture of intolerance.
"Discriminatory laws are unquestionably bad for business, but more importantly, they are fundamentally wrong. They must be stopped."
Appearing on CNN, Malloy blasted Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, who defended the law, and Indiana GOP Gov. Mike Pence, who signed it. Both are considered to be potential presidential candidates in 2016, and Malloy said "none of the people who would defend this law in Indiana — the debate that took place about the law, its passage, the ceremony — none of the people who would defend it are qualified to be President of the United States," Mediaite reported
"You can't have it both ways," Malloy told CNN. "Either you are for discrimination or against it. The law was specifically written to allow companies and individuals to exclude services being provided to individuals based on sexual orientation. There is no gray area here. You can't defend it. If (the Indiana legislature) doesn't solve the problem, companies and associations need to move out of the state," Mediaite reported.
Pence rigorously has defended the law, stating in a Wall Street Journal editorial
: "Some express concern that Indiana's RFRA law would lead to discrimination, but RFRA only provides a mechanism to address claims, not a license for private parties to deny services.
"Even a claim involving private individuals under RFRA must show that one's religious beliefs were 'substantially burdened' and not in service to a broader government interest— which preventing discrimination certainly is."
The Federalist notes
that Connecticut has had a similar, and somewhat stronger, law on its books since 1993, dropping the word "substantially," which "makes it far more protective of religious liberty than the Indiana law that has so outraged Connecticut's governor."
The Indiana Legislature plans to take a new look at the legislation "to remove the misconception that the RFRA allows the denial of services to any Hoosier. It doesn't do that," Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma said, MSNBC reported
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